Video Cameras

Types of Video Cameras

  • Consumer
    • No: input, output, shoe or control interfaces commonly used in professional applications.
  • Pro-sumer
    • A few input, output, shoe or control interfaces commonly used in professional applications, but not enough to be used regularly for professional applications.
  • Professional
    • Enough input, output, shoe or control interfaces to be used regularly in professional applications.
  • PTZ = remotely controlled camera with motorized Pan / Tilt / Zoom.

Live Video Production is, at minimum, a pro-sumer application, and usually a professional application.

Inputs, Outputs & Other Features

Shoe = mounting point on the top of a video camera to attach a light or microphone. Not to be confused with "hot shoe" of a still-photo camera, which contains electrical contacts for the flash unit ( In videoland, it is simply called the "shoe".

Choosing the Right Camera(s)

If you are planning to use multiple video cameras in an environment where the action takes place in a somewhat small geographic layout (e.g. church sanctuaries) with highly predictable camera shots or spike locations (e.g. pulpit, lectern, chancel wideshot, choir loft, etc.), then PTZ cameras are probably the best option. This way, a single person can multitask the duties of camera operator (sometimes multiple cameras) and video mix engineer and the cameras themselves can be tiny and unobtrusive.

If you are planning to use a single video camera in an environment similar to that mentioned in the previous paragraph, then often a regular video camera (not PTZ) on a tripod is the best way to go so that the camera can also be used in other locations and for other applications. However, this camera could get broken or stolen when moved about or used off-site. Therefore, some churches prefer to increase the reliability of their live video production for worship services by installing a PTZ camera and then using cheaper consumer-grade video cameras for their other types of video production. However, the amount of risk depends upon how you intend to use the camera and how frequently. Risk management may not be a significant issue for some groups of people or churches, especially if they have skilled video technicians.

For other events where the action may cover a wide geographic layout or where the subjects may move around quickly, such as basketball courts and athletic fields, a regular camera on a tripod is necessary to make sure that the camera operator can quickly and deftly pan the camera to follow the action. Sometimes multiple cameras are used. PTZ cameras are really only useful for static shots (whole-court, half-court, etc.) or above-the-goal shots (which require shielding from balls and professional skill to operate).

For imag (image magnification), it is imperative to use a regular video camera (on a tripod, unless extremely close to the subject) to ensure that the operator can follow every subtle movement of the subject. PTZ cameras simply do not allow the operator to "feel" the movement of the subject. Usually it is necessary to use a professional grade camera for imag. For more information regarding imag, please visit the imag page in this wiki.

Notes about PTZ Camera Operation

Many PTZ controllers in many churches are not deft enough to smoothly follow a subject while zoomed-in significantly. Plus, control skills vary greatly from technician to technician.

If using a PTZ camera, then you might want to enlist some kids (young or adult, haha) who excel at video games! Seriously, if you only have PTZ cameras and you want to do imag, then, believe it or not, you could identify strong candidates for PTZ cam operators by having a video games tournament night in the church fellowship hall, featuring only video games that rely upon significant "game physics", such as Nintendo MarioCart (4-player) or other racing games. Put it up on a big projection screen, hook up a loud sound system and turn off the lights!

We have seen some amazing PTZ feats in sports broadcasts, but those guys are professionals using high-end professional equipment. ...although it would be interesting to watch one of those professionals contesting one of your kids in physics-heavy video games...

Specific Models of Cameras

A solid camera that the synod uses for streaming and recording events is the Sony EVI-D70. We have three of them linked together using VISCA cables to control each one remotely. They are PTZ cameras (pan, tilt, zoom) that offer great video quality and can be mounted on a tripod or any other fashion (even upside down). They do not have any recording mechanism, so they are only a video source that can feed your computer, or other recording device via S-Video or standard component cables. Very small and could be fairly easily hidden in most church settings. They currently run about $950.

An excellent prosumer level camera is the Canon GL2. It has three-CCD to give an incredibly sharp image. Multiple outputs allow the camera to feed recording devices (DVR) as well as a computer for live web-streaming. Expect to spend $2,000-$2,200 for this camera.

2/23/09 - From Pastor Chris Koschnitzke, Christus, Delavan, WI -

On the video side, we had a Sony BRC300 Hi-Resolution Camera installed. It does a nearly 360 degree turn and turns out a really good quality of video. To control it, a Telemetrics joystick camera controller was installed. On this piece of equipment you can preset up to 6 camera shots, and also adjust focus and brightness. We had a 15" Planar LCD Monitor installed to view what is on camera, and a Toshiba DVD recorder, which records the service right to the DVD. Then, to make copies of the DVD, we got a Microboards 1x3 DVD Duplicator, and it duplicates the DVD in less than 10 minutes.